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The microphone was set to 0db according to alsamixer. I had trouble seeing how to set to a sensible level.

Then I found how to set it but, but the microphone is still not working.

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Try installing pulseAudio volume controller:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

Then start it from the HUD display and go to the input devices tab, select the "microphone" option from the drop-down, its "Internal microphone" by default, which most probably not the one attached somewhere on your screen, with a small opening. this worked on my acer aspire one when i wanted to use audacity.

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I get pulseaudio is already the newest version. –  Fredca Feb 14 '13 at 14:58
    
If I use an external microphone it works fine. I think this is a bug in 12.10 as it worked with 11.10 –  Fredca Feb 14 '13 at 15:47
    
what do you see in the configuration when you run pulseaudio? can you confirm what device is selected... –  Muriuki David Feb 15 '13 at 11:24
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